The participants were also addressed by First Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation Grigory Trubnikov, and State Secretary, Deputy Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kostennikov.
In his speech, Ambassador Ederer highlighted that "the spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV, tuberculosis and viral hepatitis, does not follow geographical borders and joint efforts among scientists across countries are essential for the development of biomedical solutions to prevent, treat and cure diseases". "I am pleased that the EU, together with the Russian Federation, is supporting research projects that will improve the detection and treatment of these diseases. The European Union is currently preparing a new Framework Programme for research and innovation Horizon Europe that will be launched in 2021. International cooperation will continue to be a key enabler for the development of innovative technologies to achieve the greatest benefits for patients," he added.
The conference takes stock of two joint projects supported by the European Union and the Russian Federation: CARE (Common Action Against HIV/TB/HCV Across Regions of Europe) and ARREST-TB (Accurate, Rapid, Robust and Economical Diagnostic Technologies for Tuberculosis).
The CARE project will develop and give scientific credence to the introduction of new methods for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of socially significant diseases, such as HIV infections, hepatitis and tuberculosis. A particular focus is made on the study and prevention of the spread of drug-resistant viruses and bacteria. To this end, a working group has been created, and a strategic plan for monitoring antimicrobial, chemical and biological resistance is being developed. The first papers have been published and presentations made at an international conference, and young Russian scientists have done internships at the Siena University, Italy. A protocol of full genome analysis for the HIV will be introduced soon, taking molecular epidemiology research to a brand new level.
The ARREST-TB project will develop methods for detecting multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, differentiating tuberculosis from mycobacteriosis, and select the most appropriate drug treatment. The implementation of this project is expected to enhance the efficacy of TB testing through new unique technologies requiring less complex lab infrastructure and less costly equipment, expanding TB testing beyond specialized institutions, to common labs.
The conference is taking place on 27–28 January at the Lomonosov Moscow State University Medical Research and Education Centre. It is co-organized by the European Commission, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, and the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation and is attended by around 100 participants, including prominent researchers and medical professionals from Russia and the EU, public officials, policy-makers, and international community representatives.